Associate Professor

Telephone
+44 (0)131 451 3303
Email
h.johnston@hw.ac.uk
Address
Room F18
John Muir Building
Heriot-Watt University
Roles and responsibilities

Dr Helinor Johnston is Deputy Director of the Nano-Safety Research Group in the School of Life Sciences.

Research

There are many uncertainties surrounding the potential adverse effects associated with the exposure of humans and the environment to nanomaterials. However, many benefits may be realised through the exploitation of nanomaterials in numerous applications, in diverse sectors. It is therefore necessary to address these uncertainties, so that innovation in this emerging area is not stifled and appropriate control measures can be introduced to manage any identified risks, so that the benefits promised may be realised in a safe manner.

Helinor is therefore involved with research that is responsible for addressing the risks posed by nanomaterials to human health and the environment, and in particular research that is responsible for identifying the mechanisms underlying the toxicity of nanomaterials.

Selected publications

• Stevenson C, Koote K, Webster R, Johnston H, Atherton HC, Nicholls A, Giddings J, Sugar R, Jackson A, Press NJ, Brown Z, Butler K and Danahay H (2004). Characterisation of cigarette-smoke induce inflammatory and mucus hypersecretory changes in rat lung and the role of CXCR2 ligands in mediating this effect. American Journal of Physiology; Lung, Celluar and Molecular Physiology 288; L514-L522

• Stone V, Johnston H and Clift MJD (2007). Air Pollution, ultrafine and nanoparticle mediated toxicology: cellular and molecular interactions. IEEE Trans Nanobioscience 6; 331-340

• Stone V, Johnston H and Schins, R (2009). Development of in vitro systems for Nanotoxicology –methodological considerations, Critical Reviews in Toxicology, In Press

• Johnston HJ, Hutchison G, Christensen FM, Peters S, Hankin S, Stone V (2010). A review of the in vivo and in vitro toxicity of silver and gold particulates: particle attributes and biological mechanisms responsible for the observed toxicity. Crit Rev Toxicol 40 (4) 328-46

• Johnston HJ, Hutchison GR, Christensen FM, Peters S, Hankin S, Stone V (2009). Identification of the mechanisms that drive the toxicity of TiO(2 )particulates: the contribution of physicochemical characteristics. Part Fibre Toxicol 6; 33

• Johnston HJ, Hutchison GR, Christensen FM, Aschberger K, Stone V (2010). The biological mechanisms and physicochemical characteristics responsible for driving fullerene toxicity. Toxicol Sci 114 (2) 162-82

• Johnston HJ, Hutchison GR, Christensen FM, Peteres S, Hankin S, Aschberger K, Stone V (2010). A critical review of the biological mechanisms underlying the in vivo and in vitro toxicity of carbon nanotubes: The contribution of physico-chemical characteristics. Nanotoxicology 4(2): 207–246

• Johnston HJ, Semmler-Behnke M, Brown DM, Kreyling W, Tran L, Stone V (2010). Evaluating the uptake and intracellular fate of polystyrene nanoparticles by primary and hepatocyte cell lines in vitro. Toxicol and Appl Pharmacol 242 (1) 66-78

• Zuin S, Micheletti C, Critto A, Pojana G, Johnston HJ, Stone V, Tran CL, Marcomini A (2010). Weight of Evidence approach for the relative hazard ranking of nanomaterials. Accepted for publication in Nanotoxicology

• Christensen FM, Johnston HJ, Stone V, Aitken RJ, Hankin S, Peters S, Aschberger K (2010). Nano-silver – feasibility and challenges for human health risk assessment based on open literature. Accepted for publication in Nanotoxicology

• Christensen FM, Johnston HJ, Stone V, Aitken RJ, Hankin S, Peters S, Aschberger K (2010).. Nano-titaniunm dioxide – feasibility and challenges for human health risk assessment based on open literature. Accepted for publication in Nanotoxicology

• Aschberger K, Johnston HJ, Stone V, Aitken RJ, Hankin SM, Peters SAK, Tran CL, Christensen FM (2010). Review of carbon nanotubes toxicity and exposure – appraisal of human health risk assessment based on open literature. Accepted for publication in Critical Reviews In Toxicology

• Gaiser B, Clift MJD, Johnston HJ, Boyles MSP, Fernandes TF. Human and Natural Environment Effects of Nanomaterials. In Handbook of Nanophysics (2010), Taylor and Francis

Biography

Dr Helinor Johnston joined Heriot-Watt University as the Deputy Director of the Nano-Safety Group in January 2011.

Prior to joining Heriot-Watt, Helinor was a scientific advisor (2009-2010) in the Chemicals and Nanotechnologies division of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Specifically she was responsible for research concerned with the environmental impacts of nanomaterials, and persistent organic pollutants (POPs).

Helinor completed a post-doc in 2009, at Edinburgh Napier University that was concerned with reviewing the available published literature on the toxicity of nanoparticles to humans, through participation in the FP7 funded project ENRHES (Engineered Nanoparticles-Review of Health and Environmental Safety). This work resulted in the publication of 7 peer reviewed articles.

Prior to this she completed her PhD entitled ‘Evaluating the uptake, intracellular fate and functional consequences of hepatocyte exposure, to a range of nanoparticles in vitro’ in 2008 at Edinburgh Napier University. Helinor's PhD was conducted as part of the FP6 funded project PARTICLE_RISK. This project was responsible for assessing the health risks associated with exposure to nanoparticles. The adverse effects of a particle panel, that had varied physico-chemical characteristics was assessed at a number of target sites. She was responsible for determining the impacts of nanoparticle exposure on the liver.

Helinor completed her undergraduate degree at King’s College London, in Pharmacology and Toxicology in 2005.